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Kenya parliament passes controversial amendments to electoral laws
The amendments also provide for financial fines on election management officials who fail to do their job
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing members from both sides of the house on September 12, 2017

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing members from both sides of the house on September 12, 2017, during the official opening of the 12th parliament. PHOTO | NATION

The Kenyan parliament passed a controversial amendment to its election laws on Wednesday (October 11) setting out how, in future, if a candidate were to withdraw from a repeat presidential election, the other would win automatically.

The amendments also provide for fines on election management officials who fail to do their job, the other amendment allows the chairperson of the electoral commission to pronounce a candidate in an election a winner if he or she is convinced the remaining uncounted ballots won't change the outcome of the election.

Read more: Parliament passes bill to amend election laws

The amendment was heavily criticised by the opposition, whose legislators boycotted the vote after its leader Raila Odinga on Tuesday, (October 9) withdrew from a repeat presidential vote scheduled for October 26, citing concerns over fairness and transparency.

Odinga, who claims the amendment to the law is illegal, has called for his supporters to take to the streets and protest until electoral officials he accuses of being behind his loss are removed from office or they resign.

Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga were due to face off in a repeat election later this month after the Supreme Court annulled an August ballot - in which president Kenyatta was declared the winner - due to election irregularities and ordered the election to be conducted within 60 days.

 

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